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Bob Smithouser
Bob Waliszewski

Album Review

Pro-Social Content

The singer offers to help a self-absorbed friend find a better life on “The Unwinding Cable Car” (“I’ll guard your heart/ With quiet words I’ll lead you in”). He refuses to be used by a woman (“Adelaide”), relishes childhood innocence (“Inevitable”) and elevates the lost art of conversation (“Dismantle Repair”). Christians who sacrifice their wives and children on the altar of ministry get a wake-up call on “*Fin,” though …

Objectionable Content

The unclear line “Wish your drinking would hurry and kill you” is mean-spirited. Disillusionment and pain are joined by obscure references to needles, suicide and “guilty lovers” (“Godspeed”). Despite ending with “there’s hope,” “Hello Alone” majors in loneliness and despair (“Depression is the unholy ghost … I’ve got the gun/ All I need is 10 cents for the bullet/I feel helpless”). Amid talk of raging inner demons, “Reclusion” contains strange metaphors about killing others and strangling lovers.

Summary Advisory

Impressive artistry, but Anberlin’s murky lyrics and pronounced dark side could send a dangerous message to teens on the edge. A smattering of pro-social sentiments aside, this former tourmate of Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance echoes the futility of those bands.

Bob Smithouser
Bob Waliszewski
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